What was the most inspiring aspect of COP23 for you this year?
Throughout COP23, GEN spoke as a diverse and harmonious family, in a powerful voice about the necessity to involve grassroots communities in the global reflection on and action against environmental degradation. An increasing number of African government officials are reaching out to GEN to seek support and partnership to initiate or reinforce holistic regenerative development programmes in their most vulnerable regions and communities. After Morocco and Mauritania during COP22, serious talks and plans were engaged between GEN and Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal in Bonn. This is a highly encouraging evolution.
What contribution do you feel ecovillages can bring to Climate Action in your region?
The strength of ecovillages lies in their community foundations. Today we have many small ecovillage communities across Africa who have stopped desertification, created abundance in arid and degraded landscapes. Sekem (Egypt), Diara (Senegal) and Salayel (Mauritania) are perfect illustrations of what communities can do to reforest environments, support biodiversity while increasing their members wealth, happiness and living standards. Some of the ecovillages have been able to regenerate their profoundly degraded environments with very little financial investments and external support. That’s the case of Diara and Salayel ecovillages. In Namibia, Zimbabwe and Senegal (to name a few) ecovillages communities are actively facing today’s socio economic and ecological challenges and shaping the world of tomorrow through holistic and inclusive processes
What hopes do you have for your region, coming home from COP23?
COP23 has been an intense networking time with governments, like-minded NGOs, experts and community leaders. These links will bring more support to our community projects in terms of human resources and capacity building. I hope that the connections will lead to more productive and humane cooperation between institutions and communities for a better world for current and future generation. I hope the Pan African Ecovillage Development Programme will receive more support from European and African Governments, International Institutions. Ecovillage strategies and initiatives are essential in fighting against poverty, immigration, conflicts and degradation of natural resources.